The Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabriolet performance is fairly accomplished. The same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine as the GTI hatchback powers the convertible version. Producing 208bhp and 280Nm of pulling power it is capable of powering the Cabriolet to 62mph from a standstill in 7.3 seconds. More importantly, the peak pulling power kicks in at 100rpm lower than before – at 1,700rpm instead of 1,800rpm - and this substantial pulling power remains until 5,200rpm.
This makes the GTI responsive on the move and keen when overtaking. The power delivery is extremely smooth and refined, rather than the brutish affair you get from some other hot hatches. In some respects it is a little sedate and not worthy of the GTI badge - it doesn't scream 'performance convertible'. Yes, it's quick but it just doesn't have the urgency or the excitement of the fixed-roof version.
The GTI convertible is available with a choice of six-speed manual gearbox or an optional six-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic. The manual is precise and smooth while the DSG gearbox is also very good. The GTI Cabriolet will cruise along quite happily but if you find yourself in a position where you need to overtake, this can be done without too many dramas due to the responsive engine.
The ride is smooth, despite the larger alloys and lowered body, and the general Volkswagen Golf GTI Cabriolet comfort levels are fairly impressive. It’s not uncomfortably stiff and the jolty ride you might usually expect from a hot variant isn't present. It’s more engaging than the standard Cabriolet model and it is an enjoyable car to drive on tight and twisting B roads, particularly once you get the roof down.
The steering is perfectly weighted, not too light and not too heavy, but there's little feedback through the wheel. Thankfully, there is little sign of any body roll and like all Golfs you get plenty of grip. The sure-footed nature of the car is aided by the addition of electronic differential lock, which reduces wheel-spin on slippery surfaces, and XDS electronic transverse differential lock that ensures power is easily transferred to the road.